Audio Research I/50 Digital Board Shipping September
Today we received an every-friendly email from our old friend Dave Gordon from Audio Research. The news is long-awaited, and the news is good: Dave says the new I/50 digital option board is shipping in September (assuming all the parts arrive).
This is a huge deal because the I/50 was simply aching to be a complete streaming tube-integrated, and now it will finally be one. In a sense, the I/50 was not really complete until we had the digital board as well. A huge value proposition is to have your DAC, your Streaming, and your Phono stage all in one lovely discrete component that's also an Audio Research tube integrated ampliier.
Look at the feature set below - it's perfect! I am truly enamoured that they included bluetooth.
I/50 Digital Connections
I/50 Supported Formats
- MQA Unfolding
The I/50 digital audio board will be priced at $1500. Barring any parts delays, Audio Research believes they will be shipping September, sometime after Labor Day. Pearl Audio has a few on order - one for our demo and a few ready-for-purchase stock units. Call if you wish to reserve one. The digital board is installed by us here in the store.
See the diagram below which shows the outline of the I/50 rear panel. The digital board goes inside and you access it's Coax, Toslink & Ethernet on the little rectangular panel on the right under the words Audio Module.
We should also be receiving some stock I/50's in silver and black around that timeframe. Meantime come in and hear our lovely red I/50.
Our little red I/50 has the optional phono board installed in one expansion slot, and are awaiting our digital board for the other.
We've been listenign to the I/50 in the store for a few months now with a variety of speakers. Standouts include the Electa Amator III, Bowers & Wilkins 805 D4, and Dynaudio Heritage Specials. The I/50's sound quality is really quite something - it's one of our best offerings sonically, and one of the best offerings I've seen from Audio Research - and i (John) go way back with ARC - late 1990's back. My first Big Preamplifier was an Audio Research Reference 1 which I paired with my Audio Research VT100 Mk II stereo amplifier. I still remember how great that system was!
Going back to the I/50. it's a piece for those who don't want a Big Stereo. The want tubes, they want them from a great long-term company, and they want them in a small beautiful (and fun) package. Now, to go along with the superb sonics, the I/50 will also have a swiss-army digital board. Frankly, I had been expecting a nice DAC board to be paird with an entry-level Aurender N150 or Bluesound Node. I'm delighted to learn they included an ethernet connection and Roon functionality. That makes the I/50 a perfect one chassis tube stereo for both digital and analog - call me impressed.
And yes, that is the new Hifi Rose RS150 to the right. Love it too.
Cheers! John, Russ, Connor & Tara.